Barrow County has laid off 18 employees this week. The county cut the workers Monday and Tuesday as part of plans to deal with a $5 million budget shortfall. Three other employees took early retirement. The jobs ranged from the fire department to the tax commissioner's office. The county has cut other expenses since the shortfall was announced in January, but it still faces a $1.6 million deficit. Cuts include eliminating holiday pay, salary reductions and a hiring freeze. Barrow County is northeast of Atlanta. It has about 400 workers.